Highlighted Networks

Highlighted Networks


Networks are chosen to be highlighted on this page for demonstrating a promising practice, a unique model, or have something novel and of value to offer others in the field.  All highlighted networks are showcased with their consent and collaboration.  If you would like your team considered for this purpose, you may email talitha.j.guinn-shaver@usdoj.gov.

 

Minnesota Elder Justice Center

Amanda Vickstrom, Executive Director

Amanda Vickstrom, Executive Director

Shelly Carlson, Special Projects Manager

Shelly Carlson, Special Projects Manager

MEJC's Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Conference

MEJC's Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Conference

The Minnesota Elder Justice Center is a statewide nonprofit working to mobilize communities to prevent and alleviate abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of older and vulnerable adults. Its vision is that the MEJC is a trusted resource that improves lives, communities, and systems with and on behalf of elders and vulnerable adults.

Incorporated in 2014, the Minnesota Elder Justice Center (MEJC) operates as an independent non-profit organization. With a staff of 10, MEJC works to advance policy and systems change efforts, raise public awareness, train professionals, and provide direct services to victims of elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. In addition, the organization serves as a nucleus within the Minnesota aging and vulnerable adult community, providing collaborative opportunities to improve systems, services, and policy to address elder abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and maltreatment.

MEJC provides support and advocacy to older and vulnerable victims of abuse via a helpline, as well as in-person support and advocacy. Services also include assistance to others who work with older adults, as well as limited legal representation for victims of elder abuse. Over the last year, MEJC staff worked with 830 victims of elder abuse.

In addition to direct support to victims, MEJC also works with county teams to support a coordinated response to elder abuse, including coordinating E-MDTs in several communities across Minnesota with funding from OVC’s E-MDTs for Older Victims of Abuse grant program. MEJC manages the coordination and facilitation of two E-MDTs, and assists with the coordination of an E-MDT involving two border counties in two states. Staff also provide technical assistance across the state to communities where no E-MDT is present, or when a case arises in which more expertise is needed.  MEJC has also just launched a web portal to connect E-MDTs across the state, increase communication among E-MDT coordinators and members, share tips and resources, and provide a forum to uncover gaps in system responses to elder abuse. 

Training and education are essential to those working with older or vulnerable adults, and a cornerstone of the work at MEJC. Staff provide entry-level and advanced training to individuals and institutions who work with older and vulnerable adults, including those who work in social services, legal community, health care, financial institutions, and others. MEJC also provides specialized trainings for law enforcement and criminal justice professionals, and coordinates opportunities for professionals to work together to learn, discuss and prepare recommendations to strengthen systems to protect older and vulnerable adults.

Free weekly webinars cover a variety of topics relevant to those working with older or vulnerable adults, including: guardianship, supported decision making, advocacy strategies with older victims, intimate partner violence and abuse in later life, responding to financial exploitation, partner program information, policy efforts, and more. In addition to free weekly webinars, recorded trainings and resources, including toolkits, resource sheets, and manuals are available on MEJC’s website free of charge.

MEJC advocates for policy initiatives that benefit older and vulnerable victims of abuse, prevent abuse, and increase access to justice. Recent collaborative policy successes include sucessfully advocating for new legislation updating Minnesota’s Vulnerable Adult Act this past session. In 2021, MEJC and its partners worked to pass legislation to modernize Minnesota’s guardianship statute. After two years of work, MEJC worked as part of a collaborative team to draft and advocate for the successful passage of Minnesota’s 2019 Elder Care and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act which for the first time, created licensing of Assisted Living Facilities in Minnesota and added significant new protections for consumers.

MEJC’s approach to addressing elder abuse in Minnesota includes collaborating with program participants, professionals from adult protection agencies, public advocacy organizations, elder and disability organizations, health care providers, law enforcement, city and county attorneys, private attorneys, and other government organizations. The Minnesota Elder Justice Center considers collaborative work to be part of necessary systems change for older or vulnerable victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation. It also allows us to actively listen to and learn from others working in related fields.

To learn more about the work of the Minnesota Elder Justice Center, please visit our website at www.elderjusticemn.org. You can also watch a short video to learn more here -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d47rBwbgc8o&t=19s.

 

The Weinberg Center’s SPRiNG Alliance Elder Shelter Program

The Weinberg Center’s SPRiNG Alliance Elder Shelter Program

 

Ms. J. is 77-years-old and has mobility impairment. She has experienced abuse by her son, who struggles with alcohol addiction. He has thrown his mother to the floor, screamed insults at her, and taken her monthly Social Security income. Recently, the home care aides she relies on for daily assistance have stopped coming to her home due to her son’s threatening behavior.

MDTs across the country regularly strategize and safety plan to support clients like Ms. J. These clients are experiencing multiple forms of abuse, which are both enabled by and exacerbate complex medical conditions. Sometimes, instead of being a haven, the home is the very epicenter of the abuse. In such instance, the client needs to quickly and temporarily leave home and receive intensive services to address the abuse, while simultaneously gaining access to the holistic health care they need in order to heal optimally. Unfortunately, most communities do not have this kind of service and those services that available (e.g., domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters) usually cannot accommodate complex medical needs or cognitive impairment and cannot help in navigating the unique legal, emotional and social service issues facing older adults.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Justice at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale opened its doors in 2005 to fill this specific gap in service. Pioneering the model of an elder abuse shelter program located within a continuum-of-care health system, the Weinberg Center accepts clients from throughout New York City and Westchester County Clients are housed throughout the facility based on their medical needs and provided with dedicated attorneys and social workers, who work with each client to craft an individualized, strategic plan to support the client’s short and long-term goals and assist them in returning to the community whenever possible, whether to the home they came from, or a new home aligned with their goals and needs. The Weinberg Center has currently provided nearly 200,000 days of shelter. An initial evaluation of the Weinberg Center by the RAND Corporation found preliminary evidence that participation in a shelter model program may improve health outcomes within continuum of care settings for older adults who have experienced abuse in their homes while also providing significant cost savings.

Integral to the Weinberg Center mission is the belief that every multidisciplinary team needs access to an elder shelter program to truly provide a robust coordinated community response to elder abuse. From its inception, working to foster replications of this model has been a critical piece of the Weinberg Center’s mission. To that end, the Weinberg Center established the SPRiNG Alliance (Shelter Partners: Regional, National, Global) a professional shelter network to lend structure to its replication program. There are currently 14 shelter replications in operation throughout North America, and others in various stages of development, with twenty different communities represented within the SPRiNG Alliance.  The SPRiNG Alliance holds monthly meetings, an annual in-person Symposium and ongoing peer and expert consultation to help grow the capacity of each program and, by extension, the elder shelter movement.

Clients like Ms. J all over the country deserve the best possible interventions and a safe place to heal while their cases are being addressed.  Elder shelter programs have a unique ability to partner with MDTs and provide a critical safety net for older adults who experience abuse and neglect.

Watch a video about another client’s experience: Carmen’s Journey to Justice.

Carmen's Journey to Justice

 

 

Alabama’s Center for Elder Justice & Advocacy

The Future Home of The Elder Justice Center in Alabama

The Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A), one of 13 local AAAs in Alabama has mobilized community partners to create the new Center for Elder Justice & Advocacy (C4EJA) initiative. The new center will serve as Alabama’s Elder Justice Resource Center, provide direct support and assistance to older adults and their caregivers across the greater Birmingham region, provide extensive training to professionals and members of our local communities, and eventually house an Adult & Caregiver Respite Program, and a Temporary Elder Emergency Shelter. Adult mistreatment is a serious health and safety issue that must be addressed, and the new center is the strongest line of defense to combat this problem.

The center will offer help, support, and direct services to older victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation crime, as well as those who may be at the greatest risk of adult mistreatment.  The center will also support family caregivers who are struggling through their caregiver journey. The spirit of the Center for Elder Justice & Advocacy is to reach individuals and families early, and provide them the tools, direct support, and resources to prevent the abuse from happening in the first place, but also further support older adults in need of assistance.

This model is very innovative because it will house all the services to support elder justice issues in one easily accessible location, including an Adult & Caregiver Respite Program and Temporary Elder Emergency Shelter. This initiative will also create and sustain countywide Elder Justice Alliances to further mobilize communities to prevent and properly respond to adult mistreatment so people can live with dignity, security, and independence as they age.

M4A will open its doors to the public in the Spring of 2022, make available the Adult & Caregiver Respite Program in the Summer, and then work to make available the emergency shelter in early 2023. To learn more, please visit their standalone website at www.elderjusticeal.org. Please contact Robyn James at rjames@m4a.org if you want more information on this elder justice movement across Alabama. M4A website: www.m4a.org

1 minute Video Link Below:

https://youtu.be/kgG1dL8fY5U

 

 

Ohio I-Teams

EJI Highlighted Team Probate I Team Conference

 

EJI Adult Protective Services 2019

The state of Ohio has a unique approach to multidisciplinary teams, also known as interdisciplinary teams (I-Teams).  In 2014, an Adult Protective Services (APS) Workgroup, established under Ohio House Bill 483 of the 130th General Assembly, submitted recommendations to be integrated into Ohio’s APS system. The workgroup identified this as an opportunity for multidisciplinary collaboration to organize access to services in a way that was more reliable and convenient for the individuals who needed them, and distributed the responsibility for meeting these needs across organizations in a way that spread rather than concentrated the financial burden. The workgroup specifically identified I-Teams as a best practice for organizing access to a comprehensive array of services.

The APS workgroup’s recommendation led to Revised Code 5101.621 which became effective in September 2015. This statute mandated each county department of job and family services, or the contracted agency responsible for APS investigations, to prepare a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work collaboratively with community partners in the execution of their responsibilities related to cases of adult abuse, neglect and exploitation. The MOU also mandated the establishment of an I-Team to coordinate efforts related to the prevention, reporting, and treatment of abuse, neglect and exploitation of adults. Statutorily requiring I-Teams shows the importance Ohio places on working collaboratively to protect Ohioans aging in place.

Prior to the statutory mandate of the establishment of I-Teams, nine (9) counties in Ohio had developed the best practice of working collaboratively with other agencies on APS cases. Since the mandate in 2015, every county in the state of Ohio now works together with agencies in their community by keeping an updated signed MOU and regularly holding I-Team meetings. Aging networks in Ohio can find a local I-Team by using the Elder Justice Network Locator Map on the Department of Justice website or by emailing the Ohio Adult Protective Service unit at APS_Mailbox@jfs.ohio.gov. For more information about the background of Ohio’s APS I-Teams, please contact the Ohio APS Policy I-Team Lead, Robin Miller, at robin.miller@jfs.ohio.gov.

 

 

The UNC School of Government, Elder Protection Project

Aimee Wall (Faculty member with the UNC School of Government)

UNC School of Government

Aimee Wall

Meredith Smith (Faculty member with the UNC School of Government)

UNC School of Government

Meredith Smith

Margaret Henderson (Faculty member with the UNC School of Government)

UNC School of Government

Margaret Henderson

Aimee Wall, Meredith Smith, and Margaret Henderson, faculty members with the UNC School of Government, created a pilot program to help counties across North Carolina create and grow elder abuse multidisciplinary teams (MDTs).  The program has two primary goals: (i) offer in person workshops at the School, and (ii) provide extended support to the MDTs after the initial workshop. 

With respect to the first goal, an initial two-day workshop was held at the School.  The School solicited applications from professionals working in the field of aging and adult services.  Participants were required to apply by county as a team.  Each team could send up to seven people and the School selected seven teams to attend.  The teams included both the largest county in NC as well as one of the smallest; a mix of rural and urban counties; and both mountain and coastal counties.

The second goal of the project is to provide extended support to the MDT counties after attending the initial workshop. This includes, for example, helping the teams develop policies and procedures governing their work together, reviewing and revising draft information sharing agreements, and helping them measure their success.  The School is also developing an online portal for teams to use to administer their MDT through a shared calendar, task lists, a document hub, and MDT contact list. The desired outcome for this goal is that teams continue to meet and make significant progress on the implementation of MDTs in their communities.

For more information contact: Meredith Stone Smith meredith.smith@sog.unc.edu

 

Updated October 12, 2022

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